Gypsy Days celebration returned to Aberdeen this fall

Thunder the Wolf making the NSU Wolf hand signal at the football game

After two years without a true homecoming celebration for Northern State University—due to weather and the pandemic—the campus community and all of northeast South Dakota was ready to paint the town maroon and gold for Gypsy Days 2021.

And the celebration didn’t disappoint, with festivities including the 105th annual parade and the first homecoming football game ever held in the new Dacotah Bank Stadium.

“It was a fitting return and perfect weather for a fantastic experience for students, alumni and our community,” said NSU President Dr. Neal Schnoor.

Students held numerous fun activities throughout the week of Sept. 27, culminating with coronation and the Bonfire Bash. This year’s Royalty were Queen Ashley Bruzek and Marshal Garret Thompson.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, it was a beautiful morning for the Gypsy Day Parade, with hundreds of people lining Aberdeen’s Main Street to enjoy the spectacle of floats by campus groups, community organizations and area businesses.

On the athletic side, the NSU volleyball, soccer, swimming and football teams were in action, with Wolves fans packing Dacotah Bank Stadium for Saturday’s football game.

Sold-out Crowd at Stadium

Packed crowd at Dacotah Bank Stadium

NSU Director of Athletic Development and Revenue Generation Laci Hettick said Northern couldn’t have asked for a better Gypsy Day celebration this year.

“We were expecting a lot of support for the weekend’s events and that’s just what we saw. People were excited to celebrate, especially after the past two years of not being able to celebrate as we typically have in the past,” said Hettick, also a Northern alum. “It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend that was perfect for meeting up with friends, attending the parade, tailgating and cheering on the Wolves athletic teams. We saw a sold-out crowd at Dacotah Bank Stadium, which was the perfect way for many alumni and NSU fans to experience the new facility for the first time.”

In fact, there was even more excitement this year than in years past, Hettick said.

“There definitely was a greater air of celebration this year, partly because we hadn’t been able to gather to celebrate in a few years, and also due to the excitement around our new facilities,” she said. “It was amazing to see a sold-out crowd at Dacotah Bank Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous day, right on the campus of Northern State University.”

NSU has Great Community, Facilities

Hettick said she heard a friend and fellow alum comment that in the past, you chose Northern for the great people and sense of community, not necessarily because of the facilities or amenities.

The campus improvements over the past few years have changed that.

“Now, looking at the new Harvey Jewett Regional Science Center, the new residence halls, practice facilities, soccer field, softball field and football stadium, NSU students and the community have both,” Hettick said. “As alumni, we are proud to see our university grow, adapt, and change with the current times.”